With the Rutte IV coalition having agreed to abolish the existing student loan system in the Netherlands, the cabinet is now examining how students and graduates can be compensated for their debts and deciding what the new grant system will entail.
Student compensation plans under the loan system
The Dutch government has set aside €1 billion in order to compensate the thousands of students who have accumulated debt under the current student loan system, which was introduced in 2015. The idea was for anyone who have studied during these years and have taken out a loan to cover the costs of their education to receive 1,000 euros each.
However, that plan has faced serious backlash since it was first announced late last year. In February, the Senate (Eerste Kamer) rejected the proposal, calling on Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet to “compensate injured students appropriately, so that the compensation is comparable to the gifts to students that were covered by the basic grant”.
The new plan which has been leaked to the press is to give students and graduates 359 euros for each year of higher education enrollment, with a maximum of 1,436 euros available for those who have graduated and obtained a qualification. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), students and graduates had an average of 15,200 euros in debt at the start of 2021. Under the old scholarship system, they would have received up to 288 euros per month, which would not have should have been reimbursed provided they completed their studies within 10 years.
The Dutch government reintroduces a scholarship for students in the Netherlands
The firm is also finalizing plans for the reintroduction of scholarships. Sources in The Hague confirmed to Dutch media that from September 2023, students living at home would be eligible to receive 91 euros per month, while those living in student accommodation could receive 255 euros per month.
A maximum scholarship of 419 euros per month would be available to students, depending on the salary of their parents. To be eligible for the full supplementary grant, the parents’ income must not exceed 34,600 euros per year. The government is also considering other options for the new grant system, ready for proposals to be discussed in the House of Representatives (tweed bedroom) next month.
It’s still early days, but the current plans have already faced significant criticism. “If these are the amounts, then I will be shocked,” said Joshua de Roos, vice president of the National Union of Students. LIT. “These amounts are lower than the old base grant, so students don’t get much out of it – although it’s a good start compared to the loan system.”